COVID-19 Resources & Updates
May 14: Update from KLS - Summer Term and Scenario Planning
Dear KLS Families,
I hope everyone is healthy and in good spirits.
This note is an update to let you know that we will continue remote learning for KLS’s upcoming summer term, which begins on Monday, June 22. The school’s planning for our return to campus is ongoing.
The Bay Area’s collective efforts to shelter in place have slowed the spread of COVID-19 locally and helped prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, and many California counties are beginning to ease related restrictions. Santa Clara County, however, is not among them, as our public health experts have this week indicated that there is still ground to cover before the county will hit the metrics it has set for reopening (e.g., per capita testing, trained contact tracers). KLS’s focus remains on the health and well-being of our community, and we will continue to make decisions based upon the guidelines of our county and state health departments and the CDC, and the on-the-ground guidance of our KLS medical panel.
Though I am not able to predict when we will return to campus, the school will continue our preparations and scenario planning to be ready to do so. We are working closely with Khan Academy to increase cleaning and disinfecting regimens for the building, and we are coordinating with them on no-touch upgrades for restrooms on both floors. The KLS COVID-19 team is working on updates to school policies and procedures to ensure the overall safety of our community to the fullest extent possible. We have taken note that as other countries have brought students back to campus, they have done so in staggered stages. During the summer term, I will be able to share KLS’s updated guidelines regarding matters such as:
- Physical distancing and class size
- Sick policy
- Drop off and pick up
- Temperature checks
- Mask/face-covering policy (self-provided)
- Disposal of unclaimed personal Items
- Naps and nap pads (IL1)
- Lunch/snack times
- Bathroom rules
- Personal hygiene
- Cleaning practices
I want to thank you all for your flexibility and support since we closed campus two months ago. Your thoughtful Teacher Appreciation Week messages and gifts for the team last week were another great reminder of what a wonderful community we have in each other!
April 20: Welcome Back!
Welcome Back to KLS and remote learning! I hope that over spring break you had the chance to enjoy some rest and time together in the sun while continuing to help our larger community stay safe.
I look forward to providing updates about KLS’s intentions and planning for the rest of this school year and the coming school year at the next Rachel’s Roundtable this Wednesday at 4:00 PM (Zoom details to be sent out that morning. In the meantime, I would like to share two quick updates with you now:
I know you will agree that our teachers have been wonderful about responding to your feedback and making adjustments as necessary. As the school moves from rapid response to something more stable, I have asked the faculty to envision the seven weeks we have left in this term through June 5 as multiple two-week periods plus one week post-Memorial Day (2+2+2+1). In the spirit of pacing and sustainability, teachers will share larger changes to process or schedule, if any, on a biweekly basis (i.e., every two weeks) until the start of our early summer break.
From now until the start of our early summer break, we will have "no-meeting" Friday afternoons, which means that after 12:30 PM each Friday, teachers will not schedule meetings with students (with the exception of a few Outer Wellness in the Lower School), parents, or even colleagues so that they can have that block of time for assessment, reflection, and planning. The team will continue to be reachable by email as they otherwise would each school day, and students will have assignments or other work they may focus on during the latter half of Friday. (We also support students in taking the opportunity for some extra rest and play!)
Thank you for your ongoing support of the team and for rising to the challenge of this moment! I look forward to speaking with you soon.
April 9: Updated Mandate from Santa Clara County
Dear KLS Families and Students,
Yesterday afternoon the Santa Clara County Office of Education, along with the county superintendents for public schools in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, and San Francisco, announced the collective decision to extend "at-home and distance learning" for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. You can read the notice here.
This decision was made in conjunction with county health officials to help our region continue to shelter-in-place and practice social distancing, and as such, Khan Lab School will do its part by remaining in remote learning mode for the remainder of our spring term, through June 5, 2020.
While this news is not surprising, that does not make it any less sad - I share in the disappointment that we will not be able to come together again soon. I do hope though that as surreal as this historic moment feels, we can take some comfort in the fact that we are in this together and keeping ourselves at home is making a measurable difference. I am also proud to see the displays of KLS spirit from our students as they aid those on the front line of the COVID-19 response.
With respect to remote learning, continuity of program is important, but not more so than maintaining our well-being. We must stay connected to family and friends, eat well, sleep, get outside, and make the time ahead sustainable for all of us. Thank you for your enduring understanding and support as the team reflects upon and refines remote learning at KLS with these goals in mind.
After we return from spring break, I will share an update on how the rest of our spring will take shape, what reimagined community celebrations might look like, and scenarios for our summer term. In the meantime, I wish you all a healthy and restful spring break, and as always I welcome your input and insight.
Stay well and stay in touch,
March 26: Remote Learning Through May 1
Dear KLS Families:
I hope this quick note finds you well and that everyone has been able to, as much as possible, stay home, stay safe, and stay healthy. I have begun to use the term “physical distancing” in the place of “social distancing,” as these past few weeks have brought home for me how connected we are with family, friends, and colleagues even when we cannot share the same space.
As many of you know, on Wednesday, March 25, the health officer and school superintendent of Santa Clara County joined other Bay Area counties in a unified, regional decision to keep public schools closed through Friday, May 1. Khan Lab School will follow that directive. This means that after we return from spring break on Monday, April 20, remote learning will continue for at least two more weeks. KLS’s administration and Board will continue to monitor the situation to assess next steps as we get closer to May 1.
The KLS team appreciates all of your feedback and your notes of appreciation since we launched remote learning last Monday, and we look forward to welcoming online Quantum Camp into the rotation this week for Lower School! The team will continue to iterate on our end, so please continue to share with us how remote learning is working at home.
March 20: KLS Insider (Newsletter Announcement)
Not even a month ago, we all had very different plans for what the upcoming spring would bring, but here we are. However, to navigate uncertainty is a commitment to finding a way forward! I believe strongly that KLS’s teachers (bless them!), our students, and our families have this mindset and this commitment, together. I feel fortunate that, as a year-round lab school, our model lends itself to being flexible and nimble. We have reimagined school built on the premise that every student is capable of achieving the highest standards of academics with health, balance, and joy. We travel these next few months together in the spirit of care and connection.
As well, I do hope that we are all allowing ourselves grace in the midst of a very surreal time. Having a routine is beneficial, but the world is experiencing a profound moment right now, and it is healthy and necessary for us to take a beat now and then to acknowledge the depth of change it has swiftly had on our lives.
I am sharing a portion of a poem that brings me a bit of stillness in trying times:
"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale."
—Clarissa Pinkola Estés
March 16: KLS - Welcome to Remote Learning!
Dear KLS Community,
You have all been on my mind these past few days. I hope everyone had a safe weekend and found entertaining ways to practice social distancing as a family.
The KLS team has been working hard to launch our remote learning plan. It has been inspiring to watch the calm, the camaraderie, and the creativity of our teachers and administrators as we prepared for today. I am grateful to be going through this moment with this team at this school!
We recognize during this time that families may encounter a variety of challenges - balancing work and having your children at home being just one of them. As well, some of our students will jump right into a remote learning environment, and others may struggle with the change. One of our goals is to stay connected; we will take this day-by-day together, and the KLS team is here to support you with flexibility, support, and advice. We also ask for your patience during any bumps in the road that may occur at the start of this transition.
As a reminder, we are still asking each member of the KLS community to be in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or a household member are diagnosed with COVID-19 or come into close contact with someone who has a suspected or diagnosed case. Similarly, please reach out to Chi-Ray Chien at email@example.com if your family requires support to deliver the remote learning program at home.
Wishing everyone distance and health.
March 11: Campus Closed Friday / Transitioning to Remote Learning on Monday
Dear KLS Community,
As I mentioned in my earlier message to you this afternoon, we currently have no known cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the KLS or KA community.
Nevertheless, given that what is most paramount for us as a community is the health and welfare of our members, we have decided that the best course of action is to take the mitigating step of transitioning to remote learning and closing campus to families beginning Friday, March 13, through, as of now, the end of spring break, Friday, April 17.
I believe it is important to share with you the considerations and discussions of the Board and the administrative team in thoughtfully making this difficult decision:
Nearby San Mateo County Health noted yesterday that there is now “evidence of widespread community transmission of COVID-19” in the county. (Santa Clara County’s health department has not provided a community update since March 8.) We are mindful that some of us have family members at home who belong to populations that are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
In addition to the health and safety protocols we exercise on campus, social distancing measures are among the most effective in slowing the spread of a virus, which are challenging to do at schools. “The best way to prevent ‘community spread’ is to spread out the community.” In addition to closing schools, this type of spreading out includes not attending camps, and not inviting over classmates to do remote learning together.
Our parent community has incredible scientific and medical expertise, and they have shared with us compelling reasons to take this action. We therefore urge everyone to avoid all non-essential, non-family interactions during the school closure. Even within your family, grandparents are not a good source of childcare during remote learning. As testing for COVID-19 increases, we will likely see an increase in positive diagnoses.
In the context of the current health crisis, we all must do our part as members of the community of learners that stretches beyond KLS. This is about mitigation - we are in this together.
So what does all of this mean for KLS in the near term?
Thursday, March 12: Campus will be open and instruction will be in person:
- Students will have the opportunity to ask questions and have the chance to see their classmates before campus closes on Friday.
- On-site remote learning piloting with students will continue.
- Extended Day will continue tomorrow as scheduled.
- Students should clean out their cubbies and lockers and check the lost and found.
- Your Division Head will provide you with more details about remote learning mechanics, learning protocols and expectations for students, ongoing check-ins and online support, and other academic-related matters.
Friday, March 13: Campus will be closed and instruction will be paused:
- Students stay home. There are no lessons planned for this day. (For the Upper School, Kim will be in touch with instructions about Foothill labs. For Lower School, there will be no Quantum Camp in the near term.)
- Please don’t forget to cancel your ChoiceLunch orders.
- The KLS Team will use this day to finalize preparations for remote learning and continue the planning and piloting they have been doing throughout the week.
Monday, March 16: Remote learning begins:
- All classes will move to a planned remote format (again, your Division Head will provide additional details for your specific IL(s) tomorrow).
- Students and families will not have open access to campus. The KLS team will have access to campus if they need to use classrooms and offices to deliver lesson plans. Students/families who need to visit campus for any reason will need to make arrangements in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recognize that moving to remote learning is a significant decision, but we believe it is the right one. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this rapidly evolving local and global situation together. We will continue to be in touch with updates.
March 11: KLS - COVID-19 Check-In
(printable version here)
Dear KLS Community:
I am writing to let you know that even though we know of no positive diagnoses of COVID-19 in the KLS or KA community, we are moving from Risk Level 2 (Moderate Risk) to Risk Level 3 (Medium Risk) based on our Infectious Disease Response Plan and the evidence of increased community spread in the Peninsula/South Bay area.
Per our Response Plan, the Board will convene to consider any additional response necessary to the increase in Risk Level. Please look out for a message from me later tonight where I will share with you the decisions that come out of that meeting and details about next steps.
Yours in partnership,
March 9: Infectious Disease Response Plan
(printable version here)
Briefing for Members of the KLS Community
Khan Lab School has a detailed plan, based on best practices recommended by our security consultant and created in collaboration with many of our peer schools, for tiered responses to the outbreak of infectious diseases that have the potential to affect our community. This document summarizes that plan in broad terms.
As you consider the information presented here, please consider that pandemics, like other emergent situations, are fluid and ultimately unpredictable. Circumstances of a specific outbreak may be unanticipated and may call for an off-script response. While KLS has guardrails in place to help guide our responses, ultimate decision-making rests with the Head of School and the administration.
At the very least, please make sure to read the last two pages of this document if you plan to skim it and return to it later.
Supremacy of “Official Advice”
Khan Lab School will observe any directives or recommendations issued by the Santa Clara County Health Department, the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or any other relevant governmental authority with jurisdiction over public health in our area. In the case of conflicting advice, KLS will take the advice that it deems to be more proactive and most likely to safeguard our students, team members, and the rest of our community. Similarly, KLS reserves the right to take any measures above and beyond those recommended by official sources that it deems to be necessary or advisable to protect our community.
The guidelines below are intended to guide a response to less specific recommendations of “increasing vigilance” or “elevating risk assessments,” or to react to specific information we have about infection risk in our immediate community or among nearby peer schools.
Risk Assessment Levels
The following are attempts to articulate risk levels in the absence of local closures and quarantines. At each level, KLS may determine that the severity of a single trigger is sufficient to warrant escalation of the risk assessment level, or it may require multiple, less-severe triggers before escalating its response. By its very nature, emergency response is fluid and adaptive; we will need to be, as well.
We are currently at Risk Level Two.
Risk Level One (Low Risk)
- Some countries (not the U.S.) declare public health emergency.
- Airports implement informal screening mechanisms.
- Reminders sent to the community about our standard health policies (primarily: community hygiene, remain home when sick).
- We will operate school as normal.
- If any student is required to remain home for an extended period because of a government-imposed quarantine (usually the result of recent travel to or from another country), the student will be provided work to complete at home.
- Increased frequency of cleaning of all commonly touched surfaces.
Risk Level Two (Moderate Risk)
- Limited cases of COVID-19 in the Peninsula/South Bay area.
- International travel restrictions in place for travel into the U.S.
- Health authorities declare a pandemic or state of emergency affecting the area (local, regional, state, or federal).
- Campus access will be limited to current members of the community (employees, students, parents/guardians, and caregivers), approved vendors, and those guests with scheduled appointments. Guests will be screened at the entrance regarding symptoms, travel, and other risk factors; those with significant risk factors will be asked to reschedule their appointment.
- Students and employees will be asked to take proactive steps to keep their own spaces clean.
- Field trips will be subject to review and cancelation or postponement based on a case-by-case risk assessment.
- Events and gatherings will be permitted for the internal community on a case-by-case basis; external events on campus will be canceled.
- The administration will begin assessing our readiness to move to our remote learning plan.
- Disinfection sweeps throughout the day.
- Employees traveling on behalf of the school may revise their travel on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with their supervisor. No employee will be expected to travel under Moderate Risk conditions if they are uncomfortable.
Risk Level Three (Medium Risk)
- Evidence of a family member of the KLS (or KA) community (employee, student, parent/guardian, caregiver) in the area diagnosed with or presumed to have the disease.
- Increased community spread of disease in the Peninsula/South Bay area.
- Rolling five-day average of daily student attendance drops below 80%.
- Evidence of initial advisories or restrictions on domestic airline travel to or from California or the San Francisco Bay Area due to disease.
- Evidence that disease or our understanding of it changes to higher risk level (increased infection rate, morbidity, or other factors).
- Increased stay-at-home advice: remain home if experiencing flu-like symptoms or if you have had contact with someone with flu-like symptoms in the last 24 hours.
- Screening of all employees, students, and parents/guardians as they enter campus (questionnaire and temperature).
- Campus open only to current community members (employees, students, parents/guardians, and caregivers) and approved vendors, no exceptions.
- Regular school program will be delivered in parallel with the implementation of remote learning plan.
- All field trips suspended; after-school programs (sports, extended day) suspended.
- Employees are asked to bring home, nightly, their laptops, chargers, and all materials required for 2 weeks of curricular delivery/work.
- All student absences will be entered as excused.
- All large gatherings are suspended, including all-employee meetings.
- Employees who can perform all functions remotely may choose to do so, in consultation with their supervisor.
- School lunch and all prepared food delivery to campus could be suspended.
- The Board of Trustees will convene to consider any additional response necessary.
Risk Level Four (High Risk)
- Evidence of spread of disease among the KLS community (employee, student, parent, caregiver) and/or KA community.
- Evidence of community spread of the disease in Santa Clara County or of rapid spread in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Rolling five-day average of daily student attendance drops below 70%.
- Evidence that hospitals are unable to manage or meet healthcare needs related to the disease.
- Evidence of restricted domestic airline travel or major travel restrictions.
- School district in which KLS i makes the decision to close or dismiss school.
- School will close for an indeterminate amount of time sufficient to ensure the abatement of the imminent threat. All community members will be expected to remain off-campus. Exceptions may be made to allow controlled access to supplies in classrooms, as needed; precautions will be made to ensure that no more than a few people are on campus at once and for as brief a time as possible.
- Full implementation of remote learning protocols for faculty and students.
- We will begin extra monitoring of cloud-based systems and will increase virtual support available to employees and families.
- Daily updates will be posted to the Community Portal.
- The campus will be deep-cleaned prior to any return to school.
In an ongoing pandemic situation, questions about how or when or why the school is taking specific actions should be directed to email@example.com or to the Head of School. Employees and others are directed not to attempt to offer any specifics about the response on their own.
We also recommend that members of the community avoid speculation or rumination on the situation with each other or with others. Sticking to the facts of the situation will help us all keep ourselves focused on keeping our community safe.
Expectations of Community Members
In the event of a pandemic or localized disease outbreak, we expect the following from all members of the KLS community:
- All community members (students, parents/guardians, caregivers, employees, and vendors) who enter campus will wash their hands thoroughly, and in the case of students and employees, clean their hands with soap & water or hand sanitizer multiple times per day.
- No community member will come to campus feeling ill or with a fever.
- All community members will leave campus if they begin to feel ill while on campus and will report their status to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All students and employees will seek a doctor’s clearance before returning to school following any absence for illness.
- All community members will inform email@example.com of any international travel by anyone living or working in their household in the last 14 days or any ongoing or planned travel for the duration of the pandemic. All community members who have traveled, or intend to travel, to any of the countries on the CDC travel advisory list (levels 2 and 3) will be asked to remain away from campus for 14 days after their return to the U.S. (or longer, if advised by health authorities). We will update this Section 5 to include directions related to domestic prior to KLS’s spring break.
- All community members will inform firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone living or working in their household has been exposed to COVID-19, is presumed to have COVID-19, or has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Remote Learning Plan and Attendance
If the campus is closed and we transition to our remote learning plan, all healthy students will be expected to participate.
During the first week of any closure, please have patience as our instructors acclimate to using an online-only format to keep students intellectually engaged and on track with their current learning. Division Heads and faculty teams will use this time to coordinate our schedule and instruction in the event of a prolonged closure.
Following the first week, the delivery of curriculum will take on a more structured approach that better approximates our regular school day, as much as is possible given the circumstances.
March 2: KLS At-Home Technology Survey
KLS is fine-tuning our plans for the continuity of school in the case that the Santa Clara County Department of Health closes local schools due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and we need to implement a remote learning plan. We have created a brief survey to gather information about the computing capability in each home.
You may access the survey here.
Please take a moment to answer the survey. We will keep a confidential list of those students who might need a device for remote instruction. In the event of a closure, Chi-Ray or I will be in direct contact with these families. The wellbeing of our students and team is our highest priority. We ask that if your children are sick you keep them at home, and we also ask that you understand that if your children come to school coughing and/or sneezing, we will send them back home with you or call you to come back and pick them up right away.
We are grateful for your partnership.
March 2: Coronavirus Update from KLS
Dear KLS Community
As you may be aware, verified cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been identified in Santa Clara County since our last message.
The CDC has stated that “people in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated though still relatively low risk of exposure.” (The CDC has provided FAQs on the novel coronavirus and children here). Nevertheless, per the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Santa Clara County Department of Health, KLS has been taking the necessary steps to prepare for the spread of the virus in our area.
For that reason, we would like to update you on new precautions that KLS has implemented in order to keep our students and team healthy.
Clarification of Procedures for Travelers to Locations with CDC Risk Level 2 or 3
Out of an abundance of caution, as mentioned in last week’s update, anyone who has traveled to any country that is at a risk level of 2 or 3 per the CDC website in the last two weeks must stay away from campus and self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of return to the U.S. Additionally, they must self-isolate from others in their own household. At this time, risk levels 2 and 3 include those people who have traveled to mainland China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, or Japan. If a returning traveler has questions, they should call the Santa Clara County Public Health Department call center between 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM at (408) 885-3980. Please keep in mind this an evolving situation, so targeted geographic locations are expected to change over time.
Pandemic Response Plan
The health of our students, team, and families is a top priority. KLS is taking the necessary steps to prepare in case we are required to close our campus under a mandate from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
KLS has an Emergency Safety Plan that addresses emergency situations, articulating protocols and roles of staff. We are updating these plans with necessary information to address the potential of a pandemic situation. We are also creating a plan to provide remote instruction should we be required to close campus for an extended period of time.
You will be receiving a short survey regarding your family’s tech-readiness in case remote instruction becomes necessary. Please take a moment to complete it so that we can better prepare for the continuity of learning for our students.
In case of an emergency, it is our school’s protocol to notify parents and guardians via Pikmykid’s parent app’s in-app notification, followed by more detailed information via email. If you do not have the Pikmykid parent app installed and notifications turned on, please take a moment to do so now. Search “Pikmykid” in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and register using the cell phone number you provided to KLS.
We continue to monitor guidance from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and the daily information updates from the California Department of Public Health, as well as the CDC. We recognize that the unknown can be concerning and we will continue to provide updates as we have them.
Reminder: If your child is sick, you must keep them home. Again, the authorities agree that the most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease, including the flu and common cold, is to follow basic health best practices including:
- Continue to practice good hygiene.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, like in this video from the CDC.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wipe down touch surfaces every day with sanitizing wipes, which we do daily.
- Begin practicing using elbow bumps instead of handshakes.
- All adults and children should stay home when sick. Share this video with your children and loved ones to teach them to cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Get vaccinated every year.
For more information, check out the helpful FAQs from Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
KLS will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary. While at this time If you have questions about these topics, please contact us. We thank you for your cooperation and support.